Marie Howe

Magdalene on Surrender

Look a blue flower, the girl says this morning bending down.
Look Mom, how high the tree is, as she looks up.

Then she runs away laughing, and won’t get in the car.

This is my chair he would say – get up.
         This is my hair, he’d say, I can touch it.

I’ll break you, he’d say.

Years after he was dead, when I finally said, You won,
the air took on a living color,

the pattern of the rug emerged, distinct under my feet,
the tree I passed on Linnaean Street became a tree,
it’s bark unmoving.
             No, not a tree      a telephone pole made from a tree.
That’s what I put my hand on.

She wouldn’t get in, running around the still-wet grass, laughing.
Then she did.

From the front seat I could hear her eating her banana
her soft mushy chewing, the scent brightening the messy car.